Custom vs Off-the-shelf elearning solution

Custom vs Off-the-shelf elearning solution: Which is right for you?

by Pooja Mishra
on September 15, 2016

Learning Management Solutions (LMS) remain a considerable option for Training Managers across organizations to deliver an effective training program. With surge in demand for LMS, there exist a dilemma whether to buy an off-the-shelf solution or choose custom elearning solution that could meet learning objectives.

While on one hand, a custom elearning solution can fit organization’s needs to the fullest. On the other, an off-the-shelf solution is relatively cost-effective. Thus, making it essential to evaluate both options thoroughly before deciding on one.

Here are some factors, which can help you determine which platform is the best fit for you.

Business Requirements

The first step in the decision-making process is evaluating requirements. Break down all needs, functionalities and assign weight to each as per criticality. Assess how closely an off-the-shelf solution matches your requirements. As a rule of thumb, a solution must meet at least 80% of the requirements. Ensure that solution you select provides flexibility in adapting your business needs with minimum customization efforts.

Cost of Customization

Cost plays a crucial role in determining the buying behavior. In case an off-the-shelf solution meets 80-85% of business requirements then determine the cost of customizing the remaining 15-20% functionalities. Consider in-house functional expertise as well as support related costs you may incur in implementing a canned solution. Apart from these, add recurring licensing costs. Add these and compare it with the cost of custom LMS to decide on one.

Time to Market

You must have a plan along with a timeline to launch an elearning solution. Choosing an off-the-shelf solution can offer greater predictability but can make it difficult for you to outperform competitors as they can also procure one easily. Thus nullifying the advantage of predictability to launch.

A custom LMS, on the other hand offers a fair predictability to launch the product along with competitive advantage. Thus, making it a preferable option.

Changes in elearning Content

An elearning courseware needs upgradation over the period to keep it relevant. This is especially required in case of – launch of a new product, product upgradation or a new law being introduced. A custom elearning solution in such a case is an ideal option to keep your elearning content updated.

Reaction Time

Your business requirements change as industry evolves. Such changes may be substantial, even time-sensitive requiring quick shift in technology strategies. Failing to cope with changes can mean difference between market dominance & obsolescence.

A custom elearning solution lets you quickly introduce, adapt changes in the platform than an off-the-shelf solution.  

Why should you consider investing in custom software?

An investment in a custom elearning software is worth the outlay. It lets you design functionalities in a meaningful way to suit your business requirements unlike canned solution which meets most of the needs, but not all.You can integrate a wider range of APIs than with an off-the-shelf solution. Add on to it, the element of flexibility to create or remove features, functionalities which otherwise is not feasible with off-the-shelf solution.  

Above all, a custom solution yields improved productivity. Since all data is at a place, users do not have to switch between platforms as a part of the workflow. Thus, helping unlock the potential of your business.

Looking for one such custom elearning solution? Contact us

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